Nana: Fashion has infinite possibilities, and new power is born from it. As a carrier of culture and times, fashion encompasses everything. From trendy to traditional culture, from celebrities, idols to everyone’s daily life, and from West to East, it is our discourse, our power, our time. Through Asian Voice, we hope to spread the local Asian fashion culture to the world by moving cross languages and borders.
In this edition of ASIAN VOICE, we feature Kimmoondog, a talented photographer hailing from Korea. In Kim’s senior year of high school, he fell in love with a college student majoring in graphic design, and during their interactions, Kim discovered his innate talent for photography. From this romantic meeting point, he embarked on a journey into the world of photography.
“I used to be deeply hurt, which made me avoid making eye contact with others.” However, through the marvelous world of photography, Kim began to open his heart, gazing into the eyes of others and engaging in a spiritual exchange with his subjects. This became an endless source of inspiration for him, capturing diverse and beautiful scenes through different perspectives.
Each photograph is carefully crafted, infused with a rich narrative, making it an unforgettable and standout piece of art. “If taking a photograph is like igniting a flame, then I aspire to be the fuel right beside the fire,” as Kim says.
Why did you be interested in photography and visual arts initially, and choose them to be your career?
Kimmoondog: To begin, until my high school years, I never really had any specific dreams or passions. However, everything changed during my senior year when I met someone I fell in love with, a college student majoring in graphic design. As I helped him with his assignments, he noticed my talent for design, and that realization struck a chord with me. Almost like fate, I found myself drawn to the world of design, and that’s when I discovered photography as one of its elements. I decided to give it a try, and it quickly became more than just a hobby. In fact, I felt that I had a natural flair for photography, even more so than for design. From that point on, I embraced photography wholeheartedly and have been capturing moments as Kim Moondog ever since. It’s been an incredible journey, and I’m grateful for every moment of it.
What processing steps do you usually go through when creating a work or taking a new project?
Kimmoondog: When it comes to a photograph project, collaboration is key for me. I firmly believe that I can’t do it alone, so I always work with a talented team of individuals, including hair stylists, makeup artists, stylists, set designers, models, directors, and more. Together, we put in efforts to capture the perfect photographs that complement our prepared vision. I consider lighting and color tone as top priorities, and I make sure to conduct thorough tests before the actual shoot. Lastly, I manifest, “It’s going to be okay,” and trust in my instincts while I’m on the set.
You possess exceptional skills in capturing captivating close-up shots of individuals. Could you enlighten us on your distinctive techniques and sources of inspiration when it comes to expressing the beauty of people?
Kimmoondog: I consider the subject’s eyes to be the most important element in a photograph. There’s a bit of a story behind it. Due to the many wounds I’ve received from people before in life, I used to be guarded and avoided looking into their eyes. However, through the camera viewfinder, I began to gaze into the eyes of others. When taking photos, the act of making eye contact with the subject is a tremendous source of inspiration for me. Photography has become a doorway for me to view the world.
What is the central focus of your artistic creations, and is there a common message that you aim to convey through your work?
Kimmoondog: If taking a photograph is like igniting a flame, then I aspire to be the fuel right beside the fire. Because a photograph must convey something in just ‘one shot,’ I strive to magnify everything felt within the photo. Whether it’s the warmth or chill, the roughness or smoothness of texture, or the emotion conveyed by the model’s expression, I want to evoke a powerful impact on the viewer. My ultimate goal is to leave an indelible impression that lingers vividly in front of the viewer’s eyes, even long after they’ve seen it.
You have an extensive history of collaborating with various makeup and fashion brands. Could you share some of your most memorable collaboration experiences from the past?
Kimmoondog: I truly want to share a specific experience, but the truth is, every photoshoot has left a lasting memory on me. However, one collaboration that stands out is the work I did with “ADER ERROR”(@ader_error) where we used powerful wind blowing machines and strong air pressure. It had a significant impact, and I was delighted with the final results!
In terms of finding inspiration for your work, are there any particular cultures or styles that have influenced your creative process?
Kimmoondog: Though I’ve never deeply thought about it, but it seems that I have been most influenced by the LGBT culture, which reflects my identity. Lady Gaga and other vibrant artists were my inspiration during my teenage years, and as I entered my 20s, I became familiar with drag culture. Admiring these vibrant artists naturally infused my work with flamboyance and a powerful essence.
Is it possible for you to recommend any noteworthy contemporary artists, designers, movies, or books that our readers might find inspiring?
Kimmoondog: To be honest, I haven’t explored many diverse individuals beyond those in my immediate surroundings. However, I absolutely adore kowgi (@kow.gi) and 32dawn (@32dawn.official). Both brands hold a special place in my heart, as they align perfectly with the direction I pursue. Oh, and I’m also a huge fan of melo (@melovemealot)! 🙂
Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking a position in the art and fashion industry?
Kimmoondog: To those who aspire to pursue photography as a profession, I always recommend, “Don’t solely immerse yourself in photography alone.” I believe the same applies to any field. I only made a living solely through photography for about 2 years and 6 months. Prior to that, I worked part-time jobs because photography couldn’t sustain my life at that time. If I had solely focused on photography without any other income, I would have felt anxious and might have even given up on photography. You should keep your feet on the ground while dreaming. Just as dreams are cherished, life is equally lovable, valuable, and important.
Just as dreams are cherished, life is equally lovable, valuable, and important.
Text by Yiyao Zhang